It’s been a while, and as my 30th quiiiiickly approaches, I wanted to make sure to check in and, most importantly, document the birth of our sweet girl.
Baby was due on July 1, but with no signs of labor on the horizon (merely dilated, no braxton hicks, etc), Jim’s parents & MaryBeth decided to come and visit us for the weekend with the idea that if baby came, great, but if not, we’d celebrate the fourth together.
On Saturday, July 2, we had plans to head down to the shore for the morning/early afternoon. We were in the middle of packing up the car when Jim said to me, “Maria, we can’t do this. You can’t be 2 hours from the hospital the day after your due date.” This decision sent me into a sulky, teary pout, as I really didn’t want to just sit around the house all day. Then, we all went down to the Farmer’s Market, and when we got back I decided to go for a run. I felt a little better after that as I always do, but still was disappointed and bored. As we lounged on the back deck and napped, Jim said to me, “Maybe now that you’ve slowed down today, baby will realize that he or she can come out!” I was doubtful, as again I was not feeling anything.
We played a few rounds of cornhole (Jim’s dad and I were the winners!), and then we decided to grill out. We chowed down on corn, brats, periogies, and watermelon. As we were eating, we discussed plans for the evening: we could go do some mini golf, or we could go to the drive-in (about 45 min away). We decided on the drive-in, and after we cleaned up dinner we started getting ready and loading the car. However, during this time I was kind of thinking I might actually be feeling something. It felt like period cramps, but the sensation was mostly in my lower back. I continued to get ready, still wondering if perhaps something actually WAS starting to happen. I expressed these thoughts to Jim and then headed into the bathroom, where it was evident that I had lost my cervical mucus plug. I didn’t doubt things anymore at that point!
Jim, Kathy, and MB were all waiting for us in the car at this point, but we came out and told them that we wouldn’t be going to the drive in after all. It was time to have a baby!
Still only feeling lower back pressure, Jim suggested we take a walk while his parents went to Redox to get a movie. We walked downtown, talking and sharing our excitement/nervousness with each other. When we got back, we started watching the movie his parents had picked up, but after about 20 minutes I announced I was going to try to get some sleep. I headed up to bed, but the pressure was intensifying, and Jim came up shortly after and I told him I wanted to take a shower. I was paranoid that I would end up in the hospital without being freshly showered! Jim supervised, but it took me a while because I was contracting and because the shower felt good. At that point, he had asked his parents to go to their bedroom so that I could use the house to work through my contractions. We turned on The Office “The Dundies” episode to try to get some laughs, but I was not feeling very jovial at that point. The contractions were about 5 minutes apart but lasting about 45 seconds each, and I wasn’t feeling much relief between them. Soon enough we decided it was time to call the doctor, who told me to head on in. At that point it was only about 2.5 hrs from when I first started feeling anything, so I was worried that I was jumping the gun on things.. but it really was the real deal at that point. I always imagined laboring for hours at home and having Jim help me through the contractions, but it wasn’t like that at all. I couldn’t stand anyone touching me, which I knew made him feel pretty helpless. I also never imagined being so LOUD with moaning through the contractions, but I couldn’t help it. I had to get the noises out with the pain.
I was nervous about the car, because I already get carsick to begin with, but the drive was quick and relatively smooth. Since it was after midnight when we arrived, we had to check in through the Emergency room. Let me tell you: the emergency room at a hospital in Camden, NJ on fourth of July weekend is not a place you want to be experiencing severe contractions. I remember thinking at this point: I am NEVER having another child. It was embarrassing but I could not stop moaning, to the point where one clueless man asked me if I was okay. A lady next to him barked, “She’s not okay, she in labor, man! What you think?!” Ha. The lady at the front desk did her best to get us checked in quickly, but it still felt like forever. As we were waiting for transport, my water broke, but it was hard to tell between other fluids happening down there. They did confirm it when I got to triage, though.
The next few hours are a blur for me. Mainly I remember people having to say SO many things to me, having to sign things, etc, while just wanting to get on with it all and to get my epidural ASAP! After about 3 hrs of all of that business, the anesthesiologist FINALLY arrived. As he was explaining potential side effects,he mentioned that the insertion of the needle may hurt quite a bit. As he was saying that, I had one of my most intense contractions, and pretty much screamed right in his face. His response was, “But it won’t hurt nearly as much as THAT just did!” 🙂
I honestly didn’t feel much at all with the epidural. It was nothing compared to the contractions. It did feel like it took quite a while to get relief from the pain, but when I finally did it was unbelievably great. I told my nurse, Ada, that the person she met when I came in was not really the real me. She said she believed it– she sees that kind of thing all the time, and also sees how the epidural can bring people back to their normal selves!
At that time, they suggested that both Jim and I try to get some rest. He laid down in the cot in the hospital room and zonked right out. I was a little too anxious to actually get into a deep sleep, but just being able to lie flat on my back (which I hadn’t been able to do in months during pregnancy) and not feel horrible pain with the contractions was relaxing and rejuvenating in and of itself. After a little over an hour, the nurse came in and they checked my progress. I thought for sure they would say I was 5 or 6 at that point, but she told me that instead I was at 10– fully dilated! I was shocked but also excited and happy.. perhaps this wouldn’t be the long, drawn out saga I feared it would be. I was told to sit upright a bit with my legs open to encourage the baby to come back down, and did so for a half hour or so. At that point, MaryBeth came in and we all said a prayer and prepared for the pushing! Ada explained the pushing procedure to me, and then it was time to begin.
At that point, I told Jim I was ready for some music.. I was pumped and ready to meet baby! He asked which Pandora station I wanted, suggesting Justin Timberlake, to which I replied, “No, his Pandora station sucks. How about some Pitbull?” So, with the soundtrack of Pitbull Radio playing in the background, I went through the series of pushes with each contraction. At one point, “Where My Girls At?” by David Guetta came on, and MaryBeth asked, “Is this song a sign?!”
MaryBeth held a pillow behind my head as I lifted it up to push, and Jim counted to 10 through each one. After a few rounds, Ada asked if I wanted a mirror to see the baby coming out, and I agreed that I wanted to see it. It was amazing and honestly so motivating! Soon enough, Ada got the doctor on call, as my OB was on her way but baby was not going to wait! The doctor told me at that point not to push, and I got a little nervous as I could not hear baby’s heart beating regularly as I could throughout the process. I thought for sure something was wrong, but they were just trying to hold us off so that my OB could get there in time! However, little one was ready to go, and after a push or two I saw baby emerge and heard the most amazing sound– a loud, clear cry!
Baby was placed on my stomach immediately, and I quickly asked, “WHAT IS IT?!?” We peeked down and at first I thought boy, but the umbilical chord was in the way, and soon saw and was told “a girl!”. So, when they say Mom usually knows what she’s having, it was definitely right in my case.
As soon as baby girl was placed on my chest, she calmed right down.. it was an amazing moment and I was awestruck at how healthy and beautiful she looked. Her head was round and not at all misshapen, as can happen with a vaginal birth, and her eyes were clear, blue, and bright. All was well.
But, of course, we needed a name for baby! Avery was always my pick, but I knew that it was not Jim’s favorite. After hearing it OFTEN lately, I knew it was turning out to be one of those names that could potentially be overused. We both had liked the name Lydia in all of our discussions– beautiful sounding, not too common but not out there– and I agreed that Lydia Grace seemed to fit this little beauty.
So, after less than 12 hours of labor, our little joy entered the world. I could not have been happier with the way the birth went.. I am lucky that it pretty much all went according to “plan”. I feel content with my decision to get an epidural– I had no idea just how crazy intense the contractions would be, and was not prepared for the pain. I enjoyed the process so much more because of it, and will probably go the same route for baby #2.
Welcome to the world, Lydia Grace! We are so happy you’re here, and we love you so much.